Crow Spotlight: Emily Palese

Emily Palese has been a leader of the Crow repository since 2019 and earned her PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona in May of 2021. Emily previously studied Spanish and Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an undergraduate and earned her MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Arizona. As a member of the Peace Corps for two years, Dr. Palese taught English in the Philippines at a rural high school, and she also facilitated training workshops for elementary and high school teachers from other parts of the country. Here at Crow, Emily has contributed to a diverse array of projects. Collaborative work has been important to Emily for a long time, and she gains team experience from her work on the Crow repository, AZTESOL, the Second Language Writing collaboratives, and WriPACA.

Emily’s dissertation, Prompting students to write: Designing and using second language writing assignment prompts, for her recent PhD investigates how assignment prompts function in first-year writing courses at the University of Arizona. Dr. Palese’s motivation for this project came from her own experience, “When I was new to the university, I struggled to understand as a young professional, what are the expectations?” Emily immediately realized, “having a framework for analyzing prompts and [being able to] compare what you’re doing is really helpful when you’re designing new materials,” and she began her research of prompt interaction by collecting and reviewing prompts for Crow’s repository.

When Dr. Palese brought her research to her 18 student participants, she studied “how students are interacting with the materials, what they’re skipping when they’re reading, [and] what they think is important.” Emily conducted “think aloud” interviews and described her process, “As the students interacted with the prompts for the first time, I screen recorded with audio to see how they navigated [the prompts and] what their thoughts and reactions were as they looked at them. Immediately after, I had a semi-structured interview with each of the students to follow up on what they valued and how they used the prompts.” Additionally, Dr. Palese studied the rhetorical moves that occur in assignment prompts to understand how instructors give directions. Her analysis of writing is complemented by interviews of six instructors and observations of their courses. 

After earning her PhD in 2021, Emily became the Assistant Director of Global Foundations Writing at the University of Arizona, where she “provides instructional support for global micro-campuses, including onboarding and supporting instructors, developing materials, and assessing and adapting curricula.” Here at Crow, Dr. Palese finalized her work on the repository team and began preparing to transition to her new leadership position. Currently, Emily is enjoying exploring her new role and reflects, “I’m happy that the repository has new leadership and members so our original ideas and protocol can get refined with new perspectives.” 

We wish Dr. Palese well with all of her 2022 endeavors!